Furthermore, the status of Japanese global sport celebrities playing abroad, such as Suzuki Ichiro, Matsui Hideki, Nakata Hideo, and now Okazaki Shinji, contradicts one of Frost's central arguments about the inferior construction of Japanese identity through the "co-constitutive process" inherent in international competition that posits Japanese athletes and Japan as inferior to the West. In the age of global sport stars, the "co-constitutive process" no longer pivots between East and West but has shifted to megaelite versus regular professional athletes. The complexity of sport stars is driven not only by the needs of generative historical moments or state interests but also by the market economy of sports within Japan and the global system. Japanese mega-elite professional athletes enjoy lucrative salaries and their nationality is often commodified to provide a global dimension to professional sports teams. Although Frost does not detail how the global sports economy influences sport celebrity in Japan, his compelling overview of sport celebrity in Japan stands out as the first to complicate what has become ubiquitous in modern society: sport stars as mediated icons of popular culture. Embodying Belonging: Racializing Okinawan Diaspora in Bolivia and Japan. By Taku Suzuki. University of Hawai`i Press, Honolulu, 2010.
The Journal of Japanese Studies – Society for Japanese Studies
Published: Jul 14, 2012
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